Social Media concept with young woman on blue backgroundWhen it comes to building a clientele, social media is one of the most effective ways to both acquire and retain customers; yet, as a social media professional serving the massage therapy field, I’ve come to the realization that most massage therapists are failing with their social media strategy.There is an infinite amount of resources on the internet on social media marketing tips and tactics to better reach

There is an infinite amount of resources on the internet on social media marketing tips and tactics to better reach potential business. The fact of the matter is, many of those articles, while resourceful, do not work in all industries. Social media should not be overlooked as a marketing strategy; however, randomly implementing strategies and tactics without an actual plan will provide few to no results.

Social media should not be overlooked as a marketing strategy; however, randomly implementing strategies and tactics without an actual plan will provide few to no results.
Here are five mistakes massage therapists consistently make with their social media strategy and how to fix them.

illustration showing social media mistakesMistake #1: You have a presence on every social platform.

It’s tempting, isn’t it? There are at least five major social media platforms, all boasting massive amounts of daily users and engagement. It would make sense to be on all of these platforms in order to gain maximum exposure, right?

Not exactly. Social media can be exhausting. Having a daily strategy for one platform takes a significant amount of work, so attempting to spread your energy across every platform will set you up for failure.

The solution: You need to first identify which social media platform(s) your ideal customer spends the most time on. This should be your biggest priority for your social media marketing strategy. Only once you’ve mastered this platform and have an automated, successful strategy is it appropriate to start marketing on a new platform.

Here are some helpful demographics pertaining to platforms, according to

  • Facebook: By far the largest user-based platform and most sophisticated ad platform. If you’re beginning to dabble in social media marketing, Facebook is a no-brainer.
  • If your main demographic is female, Pinterest is absolutely crucial to your marketing success, as 42 percent of women who are online use Pinterest, while 34 percent of total Pinterest users earn more than $75,000 annually.
  • If you’re interested in marketing to a younger professional demographic, Instagram boasts a user base of 53 percent 18 to 29-year-olds.
  • Snapchat is one of the newest social networks, but its popularity has already surpassed Twitter’s active daily users. There’s isn’t much on demographics yet, but it seems the platform is dominated by females, at 70 percent, and 75 percent of total users are younger than 25 years old.

Social network concept using paper people connectedMistake #2: You’re selling rather than providing value.

“Book Your Appointment Now!” “25% Off Your Next Service!” “Gift Certificates for the Holidays Now Available!” Most massage therapists’ social media posts are riddled with sales and specials such as these. They don’t work—at least, not at first. More than likely, these types of posts are immediately skipped over by your social media fan base.

Are you familiar with the term jab, jab, jab, right hook? This phrase was coined by entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, who applied boxing terminology to social media strategy.

The theory behind jab, jab, jab, right hook for social media marketing is: Before you can ask your fan base for the right hook, or purchase your product or service, you need to repeatedly jab fans with either educational or authoritative content that delivers pure value for them. Only once you’ve thrown enough jabs can you ask for the right hook.

The solution: You need to post 10 valuable or entertaining social media posts before you post one sales-or-business related post. This ensures that you’re actually engaging with your fan base before asking for a sale.

You wouldn’t join into a conversation at a party and immediately ask the other individuals to buy your product, would you? So, how is social media any different?

group of finger smileys with bright multi colored speech bubblesMistake #3: Not utilizing social media ads.

1 to 2 percent: That is the average percentage of a Facebook page’s fan base that views an organic post. If your Facebook fan page has 1,000 likes, on average, only 10 people will see your post.

Pretty discouraging, right?

Most social media platforms now host complex algorithms that limit the number of posts a user will see within his or her newsfeed. This algorithm is more focused on user-to-user engagement vs. user-to-business relationship. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, the algorithm is more than likely going to show family and friends’ posts, tweets and images as a priority over a business post.

The solution: Facebook and Instagram have one of the most sophisticated ad-targeting platforms ever created. The granularity of interest and demographic targeting that allows you to advertise your most recent article on your website, e-book you’ve created, or sale you’re running is right at your fingertips.

Worried about the cost? You shouldn’t be. Social media advertising is one of the cheapest ad buys in the market that allows you to deliver your brand message.

Here are some examples of effective social media advertising:

  • Utilize Facebook Advertising and target individuals who like other massage-and-spa businesses in your location with a one-to-two-minute video introducing your business.
  • Enable Facebook Live stream for a tour of your business or an on-site massage session. Then promote this post with a Facebook Ad targeting individuals who like massage-and-spa businesses in your area.
  • If your demographic is pregnancy massage, create an article that talks about the benefits of massage for moms-to-be, and then create a promoted pin on Pinterest. (The demographic on Pinterest is a highly concentrated user base of women with children and expecting mothers.)
  • Create an article on “What you should expect to pay for a massage” and then launch a paid Twitter ad that targets all of the individuals who follow surrounding massage-or-spa businesses in your area.
  • Utilize a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram advertising platform to promote your Snapchat account, where you post a question-and-answer session about your business services.

Video concept, tablet with many icons and LCD panelsMistake #4: Not utilizing video.

The amount of video being consumed on a daily basis is staggering. Snapchat has over 8 billion views every day. While your social media strategy should be a healthy mix of images and text, video should not be ignored. From Facebook Live to Snapchat,

While your social media strategy should be a healthy mix of images and text, video should not be ignored. From Facebook Live to Snapchat, Periscope and Instagram 60-second videos—social media platforms are not only placing more of an emphasis on video, video is receiving much more engagement as well.

The solution: A social media video strategy does not have to be complicated. More than likely, you can utilize the camera on your smartphone and upload directly to your accounts.

Create one-to-three-minute video clips on useful tips for your audience.

Here are some examples:

  • Discuss how receiving massage therapy after a workout or walk can keep muscles healthy.
  • Educate your fans on some of the recent research on benefits of massage for specific health conditions.
  • Explain at-home techniques, such as foam rolling, that clients can perform between massage sessions.

Mistake #5: Expecting quick results or sales.

Like any marketing strategy, there is no silver bullet. Social media is meant to be a way to connect and engage with others, so expecting to dive into a new platform and immediately generate a huge amount of sales is unrealistic.

Social media marketing takes time, effort, measurement and realistic goals.

The solution: The most effective way to gain awareness on social media is to have a posting schedule. This not only defines the specific time of day you will post, but also what types of posts you put up at each time.

Start small with your posting schedule, and gradually increase it when you have the time, experience and energy to do so.

The best way to approach scheduling social media across your platforms is with a free online tool. Buffer is one of the top social scheduling platforms that not only allows you to schedule posts for free, but also has detailed analytics for a reasonable subscription price, which will tell you what posts are most popular.

multipe apps in a person's handSeize the opportunity

Social media presents itself as a massive marketing opportunity for massage therapists to book appointments, acquire new clients and potentially turn themselves into a brand. While there are many successful stories of this happening, there are far more stories of failure.

Similar to starting your own massage practice or mobile massage business, when you launch social media marketing, you need to plan your strategy, have measureable and realistic goals—and reconfigure if your original plan does not provide immediate results.

About the Author

Chad Lio is the director of content marketing for MASSAGE Magazine, Chiropractic Economics and beYogi. He has created social media strategies for startups, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. His favorite social media platform at the moment is Snapchat, although you can always find him engaging on Twitter.